Pub date September 15, 2009
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW Repulsion: the name says it all, really. Napalm Death covered them, Darkthrone’s Gylve "Fenriz" Nagell — that eternal beacon of uncompromising black metal misanthropy — has a tattoo of their logo, and countless other longhairs heard something lurking beneath the muffled fuzz of an nth-generation bootlegged tape. The extreme music scene would be a very different place had these Flint, Mich., all-purpose metal dudes never disseminated their meteoric, immaculately shitty demos.

The band came up in a democratic period of heavy metal — which, lucky for us, seems to be on the rise again — where amateurs like Venom and Hellhammer managed to write some brutally effective heavy metal with only the most rudimentary musical knowledge. Thanks to this audacious garage metal sensibility, coupled with the aerobic drive of speedfreak hardcore groups like Siege and England’s Extreme Noise Terror and, of course, ye olde Bay Area thrash, Repulsion’s sound became the manifestation of metal’s thriving tape-trading scene, a rudimentary grindcore and death metal onslaught destined to be way more influential than it had any right to be. Crappy production values and occasionally sloppy playing aside, Repulsion wasn’t entirely musically clueless — careful listeners can pick out some impressive (albeit niche) musicianship, like Scott Carlson’s percussive vocal delivery ("You are! Rotting! Maggots! In your coffin!") and the mythically accelerated drumming of Dave Grave (current drummer Col Jones is no slouch himself.)

Let’s be honest: demigod virtuosity in its most ostentatious expression is part of what makes metal so exciting; it’s a unique bragging right we hold over the heads of our rock fan compatriots ("Let’s see [foppish indie band] shred like that!"). But sometimes the metal muse (I’m visualizing a sexless cross between Dio and a Frank Frazetta barbarianess here) gets the most visceral results by visiting us normals. If I’m losing you here, just listen to the grainy, misshapen, infinitely replayable reissue of Horrified (Relapse, 2003). Or better yet, go see them live this Saturday. For free!

With Reciprocal, Dismal Lapse, Flesh Consumed, Depths of Chaos. Sat/19, 7:30 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.), free. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St. (415) 626-1409,